This year's EU-Japan Digital Week took place in Vienna, Austria, and was the first to take place after the EU and Japan signed strategic and economic partnership agreements earlier in 2018.

In parallel to the ICT Conference in Vienna, I had the pleasure to open the Dialogue between the European Commission and the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs & Communications (MIC). This Dialogue is extremely useful for the Commission as it allows reviewing digital policy and regulatory issues as well as research cooperation with Japan on a yearly basis.

Since the last Dialogue in Tokyo, EU and Japan signed two landmark agreements during  the 25th EU-Japan Summit on 17 July 2018 in Tokyo: the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) and the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). In addition, the EU and Japan concluded the negotiations on reciprocal adequacy on 17 July, which will complement the Economic Partnership Agreement. They agreed to recognise each other's data protection systems as 'equivalent', which will allow personal data to flow safely between the EU and Japan, creating the world's largest area of safe data flows.

These agreements will significantly boost bilateral relations, a development that is already reflected in the level of activities in 2018 on digital economy. For example, the first EU-Japan High Level Economic, Industrial and Trade Dialogue (HED) meeting took place in Tokyo on 22 October co-chaired by VP Katainen and METI Minister Seko. The objective of the HED was to foster strategic and medium to long term economic cooperation with Japan in the field of trade, industry 4.0 and digital and circular economy/environment.

During this EU-Japan Digital Week in Vienna, we had a series of meetings and discussions with the Japanese government and the EU and Japanese industry. We started off on 3 December with the 7th EU-Japan Symposium on Joint Research discussing current and future research cooperation under H2020 and the new "Horizon Europe" Programme. We reaffirmed the EU's continued interest in working with Japan on ICT under mutually beneficial terms. We acknowledged the successful implementation of the four coordinated calls on 5G, IoT, Cloud and healthy ageing and stressed our interest to cooperation on 5G cities.

On 4 December, representatives of EU and Japan governments and industries discussed topics related to the EU's Digital Single Market strategy and the Japanese Society 5.0 initiative at the 8th workshop on Digital Strategies. We focused on data economy including platforms, data utilisation and cross-border flow of personal data, trust service including electronic signature, cybersecurity, standardization, 5G and IoT including Connected and Automated Driving.

The 24th ICT Dialogue with the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs & Communications (MIC)s took place on 5 December. We updated our Japanese counterparts on the latest developments in the Digital Single Market and in particular on our proposed new rules on platforms or fake news. We also discussed reforms to ICT regulatory policy, presented the status of the European Electronic Communications code, and discussed the consumer protection policy. EU and Japan presented their respective strategies on artificial intelligence and robotics. For cybersecurity, we agreed to set up a closer cooperation in particular on IoT devices certification.

All in all, we had an extremely rich set of discussions which emphasized the many areas of digital common interests which the EU shares with Japan. In deepening our relations with our Japanese counterparts, we define common approaches to manage the digital transformation of our economies and societies.